- Capitalism and Alternatives -

It's a matter of emphasis

Posted by: Baary Stoller on February 15, 19100 at 13:33:37:

In Reply to: You are confirming my statements by this! posted by Baktash on February 14, 19100 at 12:16:19:

: What I simply mean is :

: There is a permanent flow of capital from small companies to bigger ones (The monopolistic tendency) along with a permanent birth of small companies involving the innovative sectors of industry (the anti-monopolistic tendency). Using Rosa's words,"The small companies play the role of pioneers of technical revolution in the general course of capitalist development." So the bigger ones allow the smaller ones to appear. Because of that,There wont be a pure monopolistic capitalism and The view which our friend Lark pictured for the future of capitalism will never happen at all.

Continuing Luxemburg’s statement:

It is false to imagine that the history of the middle-size capitalist establishments proceed unequivocally in the direction of their progressive disappearance. The course of this development is rather a purely dialectical one, and moves constantly among contradictions. The middle capitalist layers, just like the workers, find themselves under the influence of two antagonistic tendencies, one ascendant and the other descendant. In this case, the descendant tendency is the continued rise in the scale of production which periodically overflows the dimensions of average-sized capital and removes it repeatedly from the competitive terrain. The ascendant tendency is, first, the periodic depreciation of the existing capital which again lowers, for a certain time, the scale of production in proportion to the value of the necessary minimum amount of capital [needed to enter business].

...[T]he descending tendency must win in the end... It shows itself, first, in the progressive increase of the minimum amount of capital necessary for the functioning of the enterprises in the old branches of production; second, in the constant diminution of the interval of time during which the small capitalists conserve the opportunity to exploit the new branches of production. The result, as far as the small capitalist is concerned, is a progressively shorter duration of his economic life and an ever more rapid change in the methods of production and of investment; and, for the class as a a whole, a more and more rapid acceleration of the social metabolism.(1)

The concentration of capital, as adduced by mergers, has never been higher since the 1920s. According to data supplied by the Statistical Abstract of the United States, (1956, table 580, p. 488; 1980, table 968, p. 575; and 1999, table 891, p. 563) merger activity tripled between 1919 and 1929; was halved from 1931 to 1948; shrank slightly between 1960 to 1978; and SEXTUPLED between 1985 and now. That's firm proof that Luxemburg's assessment was correct: despite a small amount of independent capital kicking around as large capital's R&D pool, capital in general has the unmistakable tendency to concentrate.

: So I think that the old theories of crisis must be revisioned.

Crisis has continued during the Cold War years, think of the serious recession of the 1970s as well as the stock meltdowns of 1987 and 1997...



1. Luxemburg, 'Social Reform or Revolution,' Selected Political Writings, Monthly Review 1971, pp. 70-1, emphasis added.

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